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James Drummond

Birthplace: Inverarity, Angus, UK
Death: March 27, 1863 (76)
Toodyay, Western Australia, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Drummond, Sr. and Elizabeth Drummond
Husband of Sarah Drummond
Father of Thomas Drummond; Jane Clarkson; James Drummond, Jnr; John Nicol Drummond; Johnston Drummond and 1 other
Brother of Margaret Forrester; Euphemia Wilson and Thomas Drummond

Managed by: Private User
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About James Drummond

James Drummond

Birth date: c 1786

Baptism: 8 Jan 1787

Birth Place: Inverarity, near Forfar, Angus, Scotland

Date of Death: 26 March 1863

Place of Death: Toodyay, Western Australia, Australia

Buried: Hawthornden


Father: Thomas Drummond, Gardener at Fotherinham estate

Mother: Elizabeth Nicoll

Marriage: 1810 - Sarah MacKintosh


Thomas (1811-18970

Jane (1813-19050

James (1814-1873) was and Australia Politician

John Nicholl (1816-1906)

Johnston (1822-1845)

Euphemia (1826-1921)


Scottish botanist and naturalist who was an early settler in Western Australia. Plant Collector


1808 - appointed curator of the government funded botanic garden that was being established at the time by the Cork Institution in Cork Ireland. He found several plants in Ireland which had previously not been identified in Ireland.

1810 - elected an Associate of the Linnean Society.

When the government withdrew funding for the botanical garden Drummond found himself unemployed. He was offered an honorary appointment as Government naturalist at the Swan River Colony in Australia. he was led to believe that there would be the prospect of a salaried position in the future.

He and his family sailed to Australia on board the Parmelia, reaching Australia in 1829. After arriving he established a garden on Garden Island.

In 1829 he took possession of 100 acres of land at Guildford and established a public nursery. This was abandoned when he was not given permission to transfer plants from garden Island.

He was given permission to select 1000 acres on the Swan River - today in present day suburb of Ascot, Perth.

In 1831 a Government Garden was established with nursery near Government House. Drummond was appointed Superintendent with a salary. This was short-lived as the position of Government Naturalist was abolished a year later. Drummond ran the gardens for his own profit. In 1834 the Colonial Office had insisted that his post be abolished. Drummond resigned and retired to Perth to Helena Valley where he established a nursery and Vineyard. He collected plants for James Mangles and Sir William Jackson Hooker.

In 1836 he moved from Helena Valley to land in the Avon Valley, settling at Toodyay where he established a homestead which was called Hawthornden.

He spent his old age at Hawthornden where he held open house on Saturday evenings, lecturing on natural history. He died there on 27 March 1863.

He collected plants for James Mangles and Sir William Jackson Hooker

"It has been estimated that James Drummond senior collected about 3500 numbers for each of his subscribers in addition to other sets and a great number of species not sent overseas. His specimens are now in twenty-five herbaria; seven in the British Isles, twelve in other parts of Europe, three in the United States, and three in Australia at Melbourne, Perth and Canberra. He named several Western Australian plants and 119 were named after him. Although about a third of these have since been reduced to synonymy, the remainder are a fitting memorial to that most 'enterprising and indefatigable man'." [1]


1839 - 1st Expedition Rottnest Island.

He went on many plant collecting expeditions from 1840 to 1851. His son Johnston's death on one of these in 1845 resulted in Drummond suspending the expeditions for just over a year.


In 1851 he wrote a series of articles on the "Botany of the Northwestern District of Western Australia", which were published in five issues of the Perth Gazette from April 1852, and later republished by Hooker. His 6th Collection, made in Champion Bay the previous year, was put together and shipped near the end of 1852.

Other Notes: "Old James Drummond, with his two white packhorses and kangaroo dogs, was a familiar figure throughout the colony. Described as a plain but agreeable old man, his dour Scottish face was framed by bushy white whiskers. He usually walked everywhere, his horses being laden with stores on the way out and specimens on the way home. When his knapsack and pockets were filled with plants his white head was bared and his hat was crammed to the brim." [1]

Excerpt from the List of Passengers on the Parmelia, 1829

James Drummond Horticulturalist

Sarah Drummond Wife of James Drummond

Thomas Drummond Son of James Drummond, 18 yrs

Jane Drummond Daughter of James Drummond, 16 yrs

James Drummond Son of James Drummond, 15 yrs

John Drummond Son of James Drummond, 13 yrs

Johnston Drummond Son of James Drummond, 9 yrs

Euphemia Drummond Child of James Drummond, 3 yrs

Elizabeth Gamble Servant of James Drummond

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James Drummond's Timeline

January 8, 1787
Inverarity, nr Fordar, Angus, Scotland (United Kingdom)
January 1787
Inverarity, Angus, UK
Cork, Munster, Ireland
Cork, Munster, Ireland
Cork, Munster, Ireland
Cork, Cork City, Cork, Ireland
Cork, Munster, Ireland
Cork, Munster, Ireland
March 27, 1863
Age 76
Toodyay, Western Australia, Australia